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Sales to foreign buyers continue to grow

Foreign buyers account for 18.7% of property sales
Foreign buyers account for 18.7% of property sales

Foreigners account for 18.7% of property sales

The number of sales of property to foreign buyers continued to grow in the first half of 2018, although the trend of double-digit growth has ended.

Sales of Spanish properties to foreign buyers amounted to 53,359 transactions in the first six months of the year, representing an annual increase of 5.6%. These sales accounted for 18.7% of the total home purchases made in Spain in that period, according to data released by the General Council of Notaries.

Of the sales to foreign buyers, 44% were to non-residents. For the first time since 2010, sales to this segment of buyers decreased on the annual rate falling by 0.8%. Resident foreigners accounted for the other 56%, representing an increase for this group of 11.1%, year-on-year. This is still a slowdown in growth, despite the increase, given that in the same period last year the year-on-year growth compared to 2016 was over 20%.

Sales by Autonomous Communities

In contrast to last year, not all autonomous communities recorded increases in the number of housing transactions involving foreign buyers. Furthermore, a high level of disparity has been registered between them. In total, nine autonomies recorded increases above the national average, which was 5.6%. Those communities to register growth above 20% were Aragón (30.9%), Extremadura (27.4%), Murcia (21.3%) and Castilla La Mancha (20.2%). Meanwhile, four autonomies registered falls: Balearic Islands (-11.2%), Canary Islands (-10.6%), Catalonia (-5.35) and Cantabria (-4.6%).

There were also increases below the national average in Castilla y León (5.5%), Madrid (5.4%), Asturias (5.4%) and Navarra (4.3%).

The Mediterranean coast and the islands saw the highest concentration of sales to foreigners during the first half of 2018. In this sense, the communities with the greatest weight of housing transactions to foreign buyers were the Canary Islands (39.4%), Valencia (35.6%), the Balearic Islands (34.1%) and Murcia (27.4%). These communities were once again positioned as the four autonomous regions where more properties are sold to foreigners, all of them exceeding the national average (18.7%).

Slightly lower than the national average are Andalusia (18.0%) and Catalonia (17.0%). La Rioja (11.7%), Madrid (11.6%) and Aragón (11.2%), all several points below the average.

Communities where less than 10% of sales involved foreign buyers were Navarre (9.5%), Castilla-La Mancha (9.4%), Basque Country (5.2%), Castilla y León (5.0%), Asturias (4.5%), Cantabria (4.5%), Galicia (4.1%) and Extremadura (3.6%).

Prices of housing bought by foreigners

The average price per square metre of homes purchased by foreigners in the first half of 2018 stood at €1,687. This is a slight increase in prices of 0.9% year-on-year, well below the increase from 2016 to 2017 (5.7%). Non-resident foreigners paid higher prices than residents (average €1,984 p/m² versus €1,426 p/m²). The average price paid by non-resident foreigners grew by 2% annually, whereas the average for resident foreign buyers increased by only 1.4%, although this difference is much less significant than in previous periods.

At the regional level, the price variations were also mixed, falling in five autonomies, the largest of which was in Galicia (-11.8%). Other significant falls were seen in Navarra (-6.4%), Castilla y León (- 3.2%), Catalonia (-2.2%) and La Rioja (-1.1%). Meanwhile, the average price increased in the other twelve. Standing out was an increase of 30% in Extremadura, while double-digit increases were also seen in Madrid (12.8%) and the Basque Country (11.4%).

The average price per square metre was below the national average in twelve of the communities with come failing to reach €1,000 p/m². Those communities were Castilla-La Mancha, La Rioja, Extremadura, Castilla y León, Aragón and Galicia. Communities with a price above €1,000 p/m² but below the national average (€1,687) were Murcia, Cantabria, Asturias, Navarre, Valencian Community, and Andalusia. With prices above the national average were the Canary Islands (€1,865), Catalonia (€1,931), Basque Country (€2,100), Madrid (€2,178), and the Balearic Islands (€2,790).

Who is buying?

weight of sales to foreign non-resident buyers in spain in Q1By nationality, the British (who bought 7,613 properties, 14.3% of all foreign purchases and 8.8% more than last year) are still buying more property in Spain than any other foreign buyers. They were followed by the French, who bought 4,211 properties (5% less than last year) and the Germans, who bought 4,138 homes, a 2.1% fall from the same period in 2017.

The nationalities with the largest increase in the number of home sales were people from Morocco (28.8% increase), Ireland (24.7%), Denmark (18.2%), Russia (13.8%), other buyers from outside the EU (12.3%), Ecuador (11.0%) and Romania (10.9%).

Increases were smaller for Britons, Dutch, Swedes, Argentines, Portuguese and Ukrainians, all below 10%. Seeing their sales numbers fall were buyers from Switzerland (-13.2%), followed by China (-6.4%) and Norway (-5.1%). However, the French, Belgian, German, American and Italian buyers also saw their sales fall but with drops of less than 5%.

The recovery of British sales is interesting, given that in the second half of 2016, following the Brexit vote, British buyers moved away in droves leaving a fall of 23.6%, and another significant drop of 16.1% in the first of 2017.

 

Property Sales Continue to Increase

Property Sales Continue to Increase
Property Sales Continue to Increase

Home sales up 9.7% since September 2017

The number of properties transferred in the properties register in September was 147,377. This is a 7.7% increase when compared to the same month of 2017, according to data from the INE.

In the case of property sales, the number of operations was 83,583, which is an annual increase of 11.6%.

88.1% of the properties sold in September were urban and 11.9% were rural. In the case of urban properties, 58.1% were residential.

The number of rural property purchases decreased by 2.5% year-on-year, while the number of urban property sales increased by 13.9%. Within the latter, home sales recorded an annual increase of 9.7%, reaching 42,766 operations.

Results by Autonomous Community

Andalusia had the best month in terms of sales with total property transfers amounting to 25,957 transactions, an annual increase of 15.3%.

The largest number of residential property sales in September was also seen in Andalusia, with 8,519 home sales. This is a 15% increase over September last year and represents 129 sales per 100,000 inhabitants.

In September, the total number of transferred properties registered per 100,00 inhabitants reached its highest levels in La Rioja (650), Castilla y León (570) and Castilla-La Mancha (522).

Murcia (24.8%), Cantabria and La Rioja (both with 19.5%) recorded the highest annual variation rates.

Comunidad Foral de Navarra (-12.5%), Aragón (-9.3%) and the Balearic Islands (-0.6%) showed the largest negative variations.

Looking at the sale of registered homes, the communities with the highest number of operations per 100,000 inhabitants were Valencia (165), Murcia (135), the Balearic Islands and Madrid (both with 131).

The communities which recorded the highest annual increases in the number of home sales in September were La Rioja (36.7%), Navarra (33.2%) and Murcia (23.9%).

On the other hand, the Canary Islands (-4.4%), the Balearic Islands (-4.2%) and the Basque Country (1.6%) registered the lowest annual variation rates.

 

New Properties are most expensive in Spain

New properties are the most expensive in Spain
New properties are the most expensive in Spain

Property under 5 years costs the most in Spain

The most expensive second-hand properties in Spain are those under five years old, with an average price of €258,024. This is quite interesting given that in 2017, these properties were the cheapest with an average price of €175,625. This is a 47% increase in the price of new properties in only one year.

In fact, the whole price ranking by age has reversed. In 2017, the most expensive properties were those over 50 years old, with an average price of 257,518 euros. This year, however, these properties are the second most affordable category with an average price of 197,546 euros, down 23%.

The most affordable category in 2018 are properties from 30 to 50 years, with an average price of €184,985. This is a decrease of 8%, compared to 2017 (201,393 euros).

The second most expensive category this year is homes between 20 and 30 years old, with an average price of 218,792 euros, a fall of 11% compared to 2017 when the average for this category was 244,854 euros.

Third place in 2018 is held by properties between 10 and 20 years old with an average price of 214,107 euros, also representing a negative variation, -11%.

Fourth place this year is held by homes between 5 and 10 years old, whose average price is 201,484 euros. This is down 9% from 2017 when their average cost was 222,251 euros.

According to Ferran Font, director of studies at pisos.com, this turnaround could be based on the fact that “a lot of products from the banks have been put on the market, a large part of which is made up of recent constructions“. Regarding the reasons for the loss of value of the older homes, Font suggests that “the offers of older properties in the best conditions have already been assimilated by the demand,”

Newer properties were also the most expensive in 2016 with properties less than five years old having an average price of 217,423 euros. In 2015, the most expensive category was properties between 10 and 20 years old, with an average price of 211,790 euros.

The Balearic Islands are the most expensive for new homes

Regionally, the most expensive new homes for sale are found in the Balearic Islands. Houses on the islands that are less than five years old have the highest average price: 400,788 euros. This category was also fronted by the Balearic Islands in 2017 (396,505 euros), and 2016 (350,495 euros). However, in 2015 the most expensive new properties were in the Basque Country (293,574) In 2017 the highest average on the islands was for properties between 5 and 10 years old: 552,774 euros.

The cheapest homes are found in Aragón, where apartments over 50 years old have an average price of only 98,750 euros. In 2017, the cheapest properties were found in Castilla-La Mancha, where properties over 50 years old reached an average price of only 84,133 euros.

Average age of property stock

The most abundant category on the market in Spain is property between 10 and 20 years old, which represents 23% of the total second-hand property currently on offer. This category was also the most common in 2017 and 2016, accounting for 20% and 26% of stock, respectively.

The rarest category on offer is property of less than five years old, with only 11% of stock. In 2017, houses over 50 years old represented the least numerous, with only 13% of the stock. In 2016, properties under five years old were the minority with only 7%. Not surprising given that new construction was very slow for many years following the crisis.

The Basque Country has the largest number of available properties over 50 years old (23% of its stock). This area has had the highest volume of older properties for the last four years. The lowest volume of properties over 50 years old is shared by Murcia and Andalusia, both with 11% of stock.

The largest volume of new properties under five years old is shared between Aragon, Valencia, Galicia, the Balearic Islands and Murcia. In each of these regions, new property makes up 12% of the stock.

The smallest number of new properties is found in the regions of Cantabria, Catalonia, Madrid, Extremadura, the Canary Islands, the Basque Country and Asturias. Properties under five years old make up only 10% of their stock.

 

Average house prices increased in September

Apartment sales suffered a fall of 1.1%
Apartment sales suffered a fall of 1.1%

Apartment sales suffered a fall of 1.1%

The number of urban property sales in September reached 41,519, according to the General Council of Notaries. This represents a slight year-on-year increase of 0.2%.

By type of housing, the sale of apartments showed an annual variation of -1.1%. This fall was attributed to a fall in the sale of new properties, given that the number of transactions involving second-hand properties increased slightly showing a year-on-year rise of 0.1%. On the other hand, the number of single-family homes sold showed a more positive annual variation increasing by 4.9%.

In terms of prices, the average cost per square metre in September reached €1,429, representing an increase of 2.5%, year-on-year. This was due to increases in the cost of both single-family homes (1.6%) and that of apartments, which increased by 3%.

The number of transactions involving other types of property sales in September reached 9,215, decreasing 6.5%, year-on-year. Of those, 39.4% corresponded to sales of land/plots. The average price per square metre of these operations stood at €204, an annual fall of 14.9%.

Mortgage Loans

The total number of new mortgages taken in September reached 25,710, which represents an increase of 4.4%, year-on-year. The average amount borrowed was €170,597, reflecting an annual increase of 1.4%.

Mortgages taken for the acquisition of a property increased in September by 7.7%, year-on-year, to reach 20,027 loans. This is down to the increase of loans taken for the purchase of a residential property of 8.4%, and a slight decrease in loans for other types of property (-0.7%). The average amount of these property loans reached €143,881, a slight annual increase of 0.2%. In the case of housing, the average capital borrowed was €139,229, an increase of 2.7% when compared to the previous year.

Loans that were taken out to cover the costs of a new construction showed a slight year-on-year increase of 0.1% in September, to reach 469 operations. The average amount of those loans was €590,439, thus reflecting interannual growth of 7.8%. The average loan taken for the construction of a residential property increased by 2%, to reach €405,812 (388 operations).

Finally, the percentage of home purchases which were financed with a mortgage stood at 45%. Additionally, for these purchases, the average loan-to-value was 75.4%.

 

Brexit willl have “no affect” on Brits living in Spain

Borrell said "Brexit will not affect" Brits in Spain
Borrell said "Brexit will not affect" Brits in Spain

Borrell said Brexit “will not affect” Brits in Spain

With the Brexit negotiations continuing into their third year it is no surprise that expats in Spain are concerned about what any final deal will mean for their rights here in Spain. But despite little attention from the British Government, a ray of light seems to have been thrown on the subject from a rather unlikely source.

In October, Málaga hosted the Mediterranean Conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which was opened by the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Josep Borrell.

Borrell had a message, a very reassuring message, for British expats living in Spain.

The minister insisted that the Brexit process “will not affect them [British residents in Spain] at all.”

He added that “we have promised not to allow people to be used as hostages in the negotiations. Spain has made that very clear.”

“The rights of citizens, whether those of Brits or Spaniards, are a fundamental part of the Brexit negotiations,” he added. He further stated that those worried about the effects of Brexit could “rest assured” that the rights of the “hundreds of thousands of British people in Spain and the tens of thousands of Spaniards living in the UK would be the highest priority.”

With the real estate market in Spain seeing a slight slow down in the number of British buyers, this can only be seen as good news. Perhaps this will restore the confidence of the many buyers who were waiting to see what would happen before making the move to Spain.